Never mind Oxford Street and the Retail Sales Index, here in Wellington we care far more about how our fantastic local shops traded in the run-up to the holiday. And on the whole they had a very successful Christmas.
“It was a good but slightly odd Christmas for us,” said Fern Perry, manager of the ironmongers founded by her grandfather.”It was a like a busy Saturday most of the time but not totally manic.
“Some years I’m working six or seven days a week but it wasn’t like that. We sold a lot more bigger items than usual, which is encouraging since some of them are bound to be cheaper online. Quite pleased really.”
Meat never goes out of fashion at Christmas and it was a terrific year for Potters Family Butchers. “Moneywise it was our busiest Christmas for several years, with lots of new faces and a few that just come once a year for a special order.
“We did nearly 600 separate orders, which is 50 up on last year. But we’ve had a good year for publicity with our pork sausages winning cups at the Sedgemoor Fatstock Show.”
Wellington’s pets seem to have had a good Christmas if Paws & Claws results are a guide. “My shelves are a bit empty,” said owner Carol Beaney. “It’s the third Christmas since we first opened and each year seems to get better.
“Toys for pets were the biggest seller. My daughter does the grooming and she was booked solid several weeks before Christmas. Overall we’ve done really well.”
“Our online shop was really busy this year,” said Paul at the Cheese & Wine Shop. “We’re still too busy sending out parcels to really do the figures but in the context of the current trading situation, so far it’s been a good Christmas.
Next door at the Mad Dog clothing store the tone was cautiously positive. “It was an acceptable Christmas but not exceptional,” was the owner’s verdict.
Charity shops seemed to have also done well in a tough climate for shoppers. “We’ve been really busy, especially selling new stock and cards,” said Naomi Strawbridge who has worked at Sue Ryder for eight years. “People are looking for Christmas presents with a bit of charity.”